Stomp steroids

New York Yankees player Alex Rodriguez’s most recent doping scandal has drawn an unprecedented amount of controversy.

The Biogenesis scandal broke early last season, implicating a number of players in the purchase and use of performance-enhancing substances through the Biogenesis of America health clinic.

Despite the controversy, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig was right to pursue a harsh sentence for players implicated. Doping in baseball needs to be heavily cracked down on, and this is the place to start.

In July 2013, 13 players were suspended for 50 or more games, with Rodriguez receiving a suspension through the end of the 2014 season and postseason. He was the only player to appeal.

In early January, an arbitrator upheld the suspension, though the 49 games Rodriguez played while his appeal was pending effectively reduced the sentence.

Baseball fans are bitterly divided about this. Almost no one doubts that Rodriguez is guilty of doping — the main issue is the way MLB went about the investigation.

MLB came under fire for purchasing Biogenesis documents from a former clinic employee. An uncooperative witness was threatened with a lawsuit. It’s been alleged that players were strong-armed into accepting their suspensions, and asserted that Rodriguez’s sentence damages the authority of the players’ union.

MLB’s investigative team deserves criticism for how it handled the Biogenesis investigation. However, Selig shouldn’t be attacked for cracking down on doping.

Many have criticized him for encouraging the steroid era by not enforcing a ban on performance-enhancing drugs until 12 years after it had been put in place. Despite his past mistakes, he’s doing the right thing now.

Former player Jose Canseco argues that doping in baseball shouldn’t be a big deal. If they’re all doing it, why not let them? Baseball has a history of amphetamine abuse; what makes steroids any different?

The argument that “they’re all doing it” is disrespectful to players who don’t use steroids. Doping makes the playing field uneven, and players who stay clean are unfairly compared to players who dope.

Rodriguez and his litany of scandals are symptoms of a greater problem. He deserves his 2014 suspension — but it’s now up to MLB to ensure that no one is put in a position where they need to take steroids to compete.

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